UK records 241 coronavirus deaths in largest daily rise since early June

20 October 2020, 18:49 | Updated: 20 October 2020, 18:52

A further 241 people have died with coronavirus in the UK
A further 241 people have died with coronavirus in the UK. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A further 241 people have died with coronavirus in the UK in what is the largest daily death toll rise since 5 June.

There were also another 21,330 lab-confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country, bringing the total number of infections so far to 762,542, the government said.

With 241 more people dying with the virus within 28 days of testing positive, it brings the UK total to 43,967.

It represents the highest daily death toll since 258 deaths were reported on 5 June, however there is often a delay in the reporting of deaths over a weekend.

Separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies show there have now been more than 59,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

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Deputy chief medical officer for England Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said during Tuesday's Downing Street press conference that he expected the upward trend in deaths to continue to climb.

"Part of that surge in deaths is related to the weekly pattern of slightly lower figures at the weekend, and then a kind of catch-up earlier in the week," he said at the briefing.

"But overall is the trend upwards? Yes.

"Do I expect the trend in deaths to continue upwards? Yes, unfortunately, I do."

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It comes as Greater Manchester was placed into Tier 3 lockdown restrictions on Tuesday following days of negotiations between Westminster and local leaders in the region.

Commenting on the latest rise in reported deaths, Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, said: "The trend in deaths is rising sharply.

"Tragically, we know that older people and those with underlying health conditions tend to suffer more if they become unwell.

"We all have a responsibility to follow the restrictions to help stop the virus spreading to those who are at greater risk."

Cambridge University Professor Sheila M Bird said that, according to ONS data, coronavirus deaths are "more than doubling fortnightly", but this rate is "currently lower and slower" than in March by a large margin.

She added: "The bad news is that the rate has not started to abate.

"By England changing our close contact patterns now, as Scotland's central belt did from 13 October for two weeks and Wales did yesterday, we need to moderate down the rate of increase over the coming weeks, and the sooner the better."

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